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Ye Olde America: A Trip Through New York City in 1911

A number of technical enhancements to the old footage makes this view of the city less “old movie honkey-tonk” and more of a reality that we can see and feel. Those enhancements are:

✔ FPS boosted to 60 frames per second
✔ Image resolution boosted up to 4k
✔ Resorted video sharpness
✔ Colorized

Because of this new clarity, you can discern something more subtle; an off-hand honesty and utter lack of selfconsciousness seen in the people in the film. In 1911 film aka “movies” were still a relatively new technology. Indeed in order to test and demonstrate this new technology, Edison would have hand-cranked camera crews go around the city and just take clips of daily life. In these “reality” clips   most people seen in them do not have the kind of self-consciousness that would happen after everyone understood they were indeed “being filmed.” The result is a true candid glimpse of a world that was being recorded before the world understood it was indeed being recorded. Nobody is turning on their “camera face” since most people didn’t know what they were seeing when they looked at a movie camera. It would be nearly fifty years until a TV show, Candid Camera, was to find that again by using hidden cameras in order to film, as the show put it, “People caught in the act of being themselves.”

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  • Schill McGuffin October 27, 2020, 1:22 PM

    I’ve seen much better colorization jobs — this looks less like color film than like an animated hand-tinted postcard of the era. The frame rate and other technical fixes are always enjoyable to see though — breaking through those “nickelodeon” preconceptions that have built up of the era.

    And while the folks are unselfconscious, and don’t crowd around, it’s still amusing to see the few puzzled people watching the weird, cranking guy.

  • Mike Anderson October 27, 2020, 8:01 PM

    Not a fatty or a denim jacket anywhere in sight. Clearly modernity is not an unalloyed good.

  • KC October 28, 2020, 8:51 AM

    I really liked watching the film. Our society certainly looks much different today.

  • Hope Hare October 29, 2020, 10:25 AM

    EVERYBODY is wearing a hat! Very different from today, when NOBODY wears hats except when it’s freezing, and even then they are purely practical.
    Well, perhaps nobody is a little overstating it–in England ladies wear hats at weddings, and they are often WONDERFUL hats. And in this country, some older ladies wear hats to church–and they are often wonderful too. But are the younger women wearing hats?

  • Vanderleun October 29, 2020, 11:26 AM

    HEY! I wear a hat. See above top right.